Home H.E.L.P. Project > Part "Freedom of the primates"

Our actions in favour of the freedom of the primates
H.E.L.P. Project, apart from its part "Habitat of the primates", takes important actions in favour in order to keep the primates in freedom. These actions concern in particular the chimpanzee. These actions are in the heart of the programs of the H.E.L.P. Project since its creation and the results obtained are at the origin of the recognition of this project at the international level. This part "Freedom of the primates" touches three fields: the reception of orphan chimpanzees, anti-poaching and the reintroduction in natural environment of ex-captive chimpanzees.

The reception of orphan chimpanzees

ø With the development of the poaching, many babies chimpanzees found themselves orphan and sold, primarily like pets. Several sanctuaries were created through Africa to accomodate them, because often these animals are given up or seized by the authorities (see also "Conservation").  
Banane chimpanzee from the Brazzaville zoo, living now at the sanctuaryøAliette Jamart started to collect chimpanzees in 1989. But upon the begining, its action was distinguished: "not of cage at my home !"
Indeed, the chimpanzees accomodated in Pointe Noire between 1989 and 1991 lived in a large building opening on the outside. The babies lived together there.
When Aliette Jamart thought for a place to accomodate its protected under better conditions, she thought for a site with wooded islands: there too, no question of cage. Thus the choice was made on the islands of the lagoon of Conkouati and that in 1991 the Sanctuary of Conkouati was created.
More than 70 chimpanzees were accomodated by H.E.L.P. Congo between 1989 and 2005. But majorty of them arrived at H.E.L.P. Congo between 1989 and 1994. After this date, the reception of new babies was not any more a priority: the means were concentrated on the program of reintroduction, the sanctuary being in extreme limit of its capacity of reception.

ø The accomodated chimpanzees were in majority young individuals, sometimes less than one year old, seized by the Congolese authorities or abandoned by private individuals. But some of the chimpanzees arrived older, often resulting from the zoos of Pointe Noire and especially of Brazzaville, due to the civil war. The oldest one were accomodated on one of the islands of the Sanctuary. For the younger, it was often necessary to look after them and wean them (stay at the nursery), before planning to put them on one of the islands of the Sanctuary. Scene of feeding on one of the island of the sanctuary
ø At the beginning of 2006, two of the three islands are still inhabited by chimpanzees. They often find what to eat on their island but it is way too insufficient. Also, on a daily basis, it is brought to them fruits and a complement containing cereals and milk. The majority of these individuals cannot be released in total in freedom, much being too old or handicapped.
ø In the future, the H.E.L.P. Project will start maybe again its effort of reception. That will depend if a new program of reintroduction is developed. Because to accomodate chimpanzees in a sanctuary is not enough, it is necessary to ensure a future for them, in freedom!

The anti-poaching is essential to limit the traffic of wild animals, especially killed for the consumption of the meat, resold on Pointe Noire. At this level, the H.E.L.P. Project acts in two ways:
- in support of the Congolese authorities, by accomodating chimpanzees which they seize, and bringing, if needed and according to our means, a support, primarily logistic, with the teams of active eco-guards on the National Park of Conkouati-Douli ;
- while dissuading, by the simple permanent presence of our teams in forest, the poachers who were very active on the Triangle, site of our reintroductions, and the zones of contiguous forests. Indeed, since we are present on these sites (since 1996), the poaching strongly decreased and wild fauna came back in number. Thus, the observations of wild animals are in progression, in particular elephants, cercopitheques, buffalos or felines.
An elephant visiting the camp in the Triangle

Our program of reintroduction
ø Begun in 1996 on the site of the Triangle, forest belt bordering the lagoon of Conkoauti and included in the national park of Conkouati-Douli, this program made it possible the released in natural environment of 40 individuals in 10 years. For more informations, click on our program of reintroduction / Conservation.
ø The serious of our program, success obtained made it possible for the H.E.L.P. Project to be recognized by the whole of the primatologists. We make a point to this date, several program of reintroduction of chimpanzees are being studied in various countries of Africa. We hope to contribute to it by our expertise. And today in 2006, we study the feasibility of a new program of reintroduction, on another site.

 Macabana, now free in the Triangle


© H.E.L.P. International - 2006 // last update 22/02/2007